Aquatic, with a thick, horizontal rootstock. Leaves floating, orbicular or nearly so, 4 to 12 inches in diameter, glabrous, green and shining above, purple and somewhat pubescent beneath, the sinus open or almost closed, petioles and peduncles slender with four main air channels. Flowers white or in some varieties pink or rose-colored, 3 to 6 inches broad, very fragrant, with four greenish sepals and numerous, narrowly oblong, blunt petals, the inner ones shorter and narrower and gradually passing into stamens; stamens numerous and yellow. Carpels numerous, united into a compound pistil with radiating, linear, projecting stigmas, becoming a globose, fleshy fruit and ripening beneath the surface of the water by the coiling of the peduncles.
In ponds, lakes and slow streams, Newfoundland to Manitoba, south to Florida, Louisiana and Kansas. Flowering from June to August.
Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum
Sweet-Scented White Water Lily - Castalia odorata